Charles Pierce: I was driving most of yesterday and, therefore, only got the news piecemeal of Willard Romney’s descent to previous unplumbed depths in a racist bathysphere of how own devising. I felt a little out of the loop until I was presented with the comforting familiarity of what a dipshit Mark Halperin is:
“After reading a lot of tweets, listening to some talk radio, and watching some cable TV, I can say that this Romney/birther moment is representative of the whole, horrible campaign cycle we are in. The level of vitriol and personal animus that exists on both sides over the flap is truly discouraging.”
Greg Sargent: Mark Murray reports on Twitter that the Obama campaign is out requesting rates from TV stations for a potential – and possibly very significant – ad buy. I’ve confirm that this is the case; Obama aides are requesting rates in key states, where there are millions and millions of dollars in anti-Obama ads already up on the air.
One has to wonder whether the Obama campaign is looking to do this in order to reclaim a debate that’s been largely ceded to his Republican rivals, one that will drive the election: Whether Obama succeeded or failed on the economy.
The Hill: The Obama administration has signaled to allies that it will take a more aggressive role this year in protecting homeowners from foreclosure, a posture that fits with Obama’s populist campaign stance.
Housing is poised to become a significant issue in the 2012 campaign season and President Obama’s allies acknowledge the administration’s efforts to help homeowners, while well intentioned, have fallen short.
Happy birthday, too, to The Greatest: Muhammad Ali
Charles P. Pierce (Esquire): On Sunday evening the Republicans held the 10,000-infinity’th of their scheduled 56,675-quintuple-infinity debates, in which everybody picked on Willard Romney and Ron Paul, and in which Rick Santorum was still pretty much a dick, but he was a dick to Willard, who would have encouraged dickitude in Francis of Assisi, so there’s that. And, of course, Rick Perry said something really stupid. South Carolina really isn’t the place where you want to make loose talk about being “at war” with the federal government. Honestly, Governor Goodhair, why don’t you just go down to the harbor, throw a rock at Fort Sumter, and make it official?
And, alas, Jon Huntsman finally succumbed after his long, brave struggle against chronic invisibility. In lieu of flowers, the campaign requests that donations be sent to the Weepy Pundits Clinic, 525 Broder Lane, Centerville, USA. Chris, dude, there one big “What If…” missing from your litany there: What If The Republican Party Wasn’t Completely Insane? That really is the only one that matters…..
Greg Sargent: Wisconsin Democrats are telling reporters that they have gathered more than one million signatures to recall Governor Scott Walker — a remarkable number that could have real ramifications for this year’s presidential race.
…. Dems need around 540,000 of those signatures to be certified as official in order for the recall of Walker to proceed. The one-million total makes that cushion pretty comfortable.
John Nichols (The Nation): …. No other gubernatorial recall drive in American history has gathered the signatures of so large a proportion of the electorate. The total number of signatures submitted Tuesday represents 46 percent of the turnout in the 2010 Wisconsin gubernatorial election. That compares with 23.4 percent that signed the petitions that initiated the successful recall of California Governor Gray Davis in 2003 and 31.8 percent that signed petitions to recall North Dakota Governor Lynn Frazier in 1921.
I just want to offer my apologies to saintroscoe for some seriously stupid and unfair comments I directed at him/her last night. After lecturing everyone else about staying ‘civil’ in the middle of disagreements, I went and broke my own rules, pretty spectacularly.
I have blocked people recently who were obvious GOP/Firebagger trolls, or who brought nothing much more than negativity or personal abuse to the blog, and they’ll stay blocked, but saintroscoe, obviously, fits in to neither category – which is why s/he has not been blocked.
When I ranted (on and on and on….) recently about negative stuff on the blog, I never meant – even if it sounded that way – that I wanted everyone to be Little Miss Sunshine even when the news wasn’t encouraging. We can still be fiercely positive, because there’s so much to be fiercely positive about, without burying our heads in the sand (as I often do) and ignoring the challenges and papering over the setbacks.
I know a lot of you don’t want any ‘negative’ stuff here, and have complained about the place being that way recently, but we’ll just carry on trying to get the balance right, between being positive and honest.
I’ll completely understand if Saintroscoe chooses not to return – if not, I recommend you follow him/her on Twitter (link). We didn’t always agree, but I appreciated what s/he brought here, which was smart and informed commentary on the issues.
President Obama has dinner with campaign donors and winners of the “Dinner with Barack” contest at The Liberty Tavern in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Va.
MSNBC: Medicare’s basic monthly premium will rise significantly less than expected next year, the government announced Thursday. That could pay political dividends for President Barack Obama and for Democrats struggling to win over seniors in a close election.
…. In a statement accompanying release of the Medicare premiums, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asserted that seniors have nothing to fear from the new health care law.
“The Affordable Care Act is helping to keep Medicare strong and affordable,” she said. “People with Medicare are seeing higher quality benefits, better health care choices and lower costs.”
ThinkProgress: Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry released a tax plan this week that he and many media reports called a “20 percent flat tax.” But Perry’s new alternative tax scheme is hardly “flat”.
Leaving aside the fact that it is layered on top of the existing tax code, it establishes not one but two different tax rates: 20 percent for wages, and zero percent for investment income. Because capital gains and dividends would be sheltered from taxes under Perry’s plan, some of the wealthiest Americans would wind up paying nowhere near 20 percent overall.
In fact, billionaire Warren Buffett, who has lamented the fact that he currently pays only 11 percent of his adjusted gross income in federal income taxes, would pay as little as 0.2 percent under Perry’s plan.
ABC: Today’s New York Times story … includes an intriguing reference to a staff memo directing those traveling in a car with Mr. Cain, “Do not speak to him unless you are spoken to.”
Could the affable Mr. Cain really have a “don’t-talk-to-me-unless-I-talk-to-you” policy?
Yes. He does. Really.
A top aide to Mr. Cain explains to me why.
“It’s the same policy for any Secretary of Defense or four-star general,” a senior Cain staffer explained to ABC News. “You don’t talk to them unless they talk to you, generally. Sometimes you get guests in the car and they want to talk and talk and talk, and then Mr. Cain wants to prepare for the next interview or the next speech and he’s very engaging, so it can be a distraction. After a while, he gets to the point where he doesn’t want to talk, but wants to prepare for what he’s doing next.”
More excellent comedy from Dick Halperin today in Time. He magnificently ignored all the polls that show President Obama leading RomPerryCain in swing states, and concluded that if the election was held today he’d lose.
It’d be nice, though, if Halperin had an original thought:
Mark Halperin (today): Is President Obama on the ropes? …. The coalition that helped elect the President …. has been disbanded.
Mark Halperin (December 2010): The coalition that got Barack Obama elected President just two years ago has been shattered ….
Last year, Alex Pareene of Salon (which I seriously hate linking because it’s become Firebagger Central) did a series on “the worst columnists and cable news commentators America has to offer …. the most predictable, dishonest and just plain stupid pundits in the media.” Halperin had to settle for the runners-up prize, behind Richard Cohen. It’s worth a read again:
Alex Pareene (2010): Mark Halperin – The Drudge-loving political analyst who gets everything wrong …. his belief in the unerring political instincts of Karl Rove and the godlike omniscience of Matt Drudge ….
…. Halperin’s worst quality is actually that he is constantly wrong. He is a professional political analyst, yet he often seems to be completely, 100 percent wrong about even the horse-race aspects of politics that he specializes in. He kept promising, in 2006, that Bush’s approval ratings would once again surge past 50 percent. Remember when John McCain “suspended his campaign” to fix the economy? Mark Halperin said McCain won the week.
The book Halperin wrote …. “The Way to Win,” his preview of “the way to win” the presidential election in 2008. His advice was to emulate Karl Rove and worship Matt Drudge – the key to victory seemed to involve a lot of Matt Drudge – and the 2008 election as it actually happened made the whole book (which he co-wrote with Politico co-founder John Harris!) look utterly ridiculous.
… All we ask for is a little accountability. At the very least, Halperin’s TV chyron should read, “ALWAYS WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING.”
Marketwatch: With a little more than two trading days left in the month, it is shaping up to be the best October ever for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. And that is saying something, since the Dow has existed since 1896, 115 years ago.
As of mid-day trading on Thursday, the Dow INDU is ahead more than 11% for the month. The previous record for the month of October was held by 1982, when the Dow turned in a 10.7% return. That’s an auspicious historical precedent, since that month came very early in that decade’s spectacular bull market which, arguably, didn’t end until nearly 20 years later.
President Barack Obama greets neighbors near the Bonilla residence in Las Vegas, Nev., where he spoke about the mortgage refinancing proposal and ‘Project Rebuild’, a piece of the American Jobs Act, Oct. 24. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)